Maybe it’s finally time to recognize the 699 New York City firefighters who battled the famous New York City Telephone Company fire 45 years ago today.
Nearly 700 men fought the awful five-alarm inferno that broke out in the early morning hours of Feb. 27, 1975 at the telephone company’s switching center on Second Ave. and 13th St., what is now the Verizon Building. Some call it the worst fire before 9/11.
For those who have forgotten, the local news reports of the day will remind us. A short circuit in a basement cable vault early that morning sparked a fire of polyvinyl chloride-sheathed cable that engulfed the 11-story building in flames. That PVC cable burned throughout the early morning and into the next day, releasing cancer-causing toxins throughout the East Village.